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Discussion Starter #1
We really couldn't have asked for a better season opener imo:banger: lots of riders down incl JL99, we will see more of a "routine" race if you can call it that.
Loved watching MM93 win it last year:thumbup: wish i could watch it live there!!


Circuit info
Length: 5.513 m / 3.426 miles
Width: 15m
Left corners: 11
Right corners: 9
Longest straight: 1.200 m / 0.746 miles
Constructed: 2012

Introduction:
The Circuit Of The Americas is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S. near Austin, Texas, with a 5.513km track and a capacity for 120,000 fans. Construction of the impressive 1000-acre facility was completed late in 2012, with MotoGP lining up at the track for the first time in 2013.
One of its more distinctive features is near 41m-elevation change with an impressive incline at the end of the home-straight followed by a sharp left. The circuit is one of the most varied on the GP circuit, with a mix of fast straights and tight hairpins, with most sections mirroring at least some part of a famous track around the world.
It was designed by well-known German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke. The driving direction is counter clockwise and has a total of 20 corners with 9 right turns and 11 left turns.

Records Season Rider Motorcycle Time Speed
MotoGP
Fastest Lap 2013 Marc MARQUEZ (SPA) Honda 2'03.021 161.3 km/h
Circuit Record 2013 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 2'04.242 159.7 km/h
Best Pole 2013 Marc MARQUEZ (SPA) Honda 2'03.021 161.3 km/h
Top Speed 2013 Marc MARQUEZ (SPA) Honda 341.6 km/h




Current Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 25
2 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 20
3 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 16
4 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha SPA 13
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 11
6 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati GBR 10
7 Scott REDDING Honda GBR 9
8 Nicky HAYDEN Honda USA 8
9 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha USA 7
10 Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 6
11 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 5
12 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati COL 4
13 Karel ABRAHAM Honda CZE 3
14 Danilo PETRUCCI ART ITA 2
15 Broc PARKES PBM AUS 1
 

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Discussion Starter #2
We can only hope for another battle for 1st!!! thinking JL99 will be pushing to win this one!!


KEVIN SCHWANTZ JOINS COTA AS MOTORCYCLE AMBASSADOR
Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and motorcycle racing legend Kevin Schwantz have amicably settled their legal differences and have reached a new agreement to collaboratively promote motorcycling racing at the Austin circuit and across the United States. Schwantz will serve as an official ambassador for COTA and work to promote the upcoming Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas MotoGP™ event set for April 11-13, 2014.

“Kevin is a great champion and partnering with him gives us an opportunity to learn from his deep knowledge, as well as continue to celebrate his accomplishments,” Circuit Chairman Bobby Epstein said. “Kevin and I have always shared the desire to see him be a part of COTA, and it's awesome to finally see it become a reality. A great American track and a great American champion in the same city can't be kept apart. As a result, casual riders, current racers, future stars and the fans all win.”

"I look forward to being the ambassador for two-wheel racing for COTA, especially as the 2014 MotoGP season begins and returns to Texas,” Schwantz said. “Grand prix motorcycle racing has been my life, and to help COTA market and promote that moving forward is exciting!"

As a COTA ambassador, Schwantz will play a prominent role in a variety of promotions for the upcoming Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas event in April, including media availabilities and fan activities. For example, Schwantz will serve as Grand Marshal for the MotoGP race on Sunday, April 13, and will lead the parade laps scheduled for COTA’s personal seat license holders on Saturday, April 12, following grand prix qualifying sessions.

Additionally, COTA will work with Schwantz to raise money for an important charity he supports, the Simoncelli Foundation, which was established in memory of Schwantz’s good friend, Marco Simoncelli, a MotoGP competitor from Italy who will be inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame as a MotoGP Legend this May. Simoncelli died after an accident during the 2011 Malaysian Grand Prix. Today through Friday, April 4, COTA will donate $1 for every ticket purchased for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas to the Simoncelli Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting humanitarian projects that benefit the disadvantaged.

"I am thankful for COTA's support of the Simoncelli Foundation, a charity that's important to all of us who knew Marco personally and fans that followed his career," Schwantz added. “Marco was a great competitor and a very special friend. Now racing fans everywhere can honor his memory and help a cause important to Marco by purchasing a ticket to Austin’s MotoGP race."

Tickets for the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas start at $39 and are available for purchase at http://circuitoftheamericas.com/motogp/. Children ages 12 and under receive free general admission with a ticketed adult.

Terms of the legal settlement between COTA and Kevin Schwantz were not disclosed.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Day of Stars to support Riders for Health

They say that everything is bigger in Texas. Now fans of MotoGP™ can have a bigger and better experience than ever before as Riders for Health’s Day of Stars comes to the Lone Star State on Thursday 10th April.
Day of Stars offers a small group of fans the opportunity to peer behind the curtain of the world’s premier motorcycle racing series while helping to raise money for Riders for Health - the official charity of MotoGP™ – to transform access to health care in Africa.

Day of Stars guests will receive a guided tour of the MotoGP™ paddock, hosted by Randy Mamola, a man widely regarded as the most exciting and charismatic Grand Prix motorcycle racer of his generation. The lucky fans will also have a chance to chat with some of the current stars of MotoGP™ and their crews in the pit boxes.

Day of Stars guests will also be served a delicious catered ‘brunch’ before taking their motorcycles out for a few laps of the circuit’s 3.4-mile Grade 1 race track.

Finally, fans will have the opportunity to bid on rare race memorabilia or once-in-a-lifetime experiences at the Riders for Health MotoGP™ auction.

"I’m so delighted that we’ve been able to bring Day of Stars to the Circuit of The Americas," says Andrea Coleman, who co-founded Riders for Health along with Barry Coleman and Randy Mamola. "Motorcyclists around the world have supported our work in Africa because the thing we all love – the motorcycle – is saving lives in there. We’re looking forward to seeing you in Austin."

Ticket cost is $500 per person, $375 of which is a tax-deductible donation to Riders for Health. Riders for Health ensures health workers have access to reliable, well-maintained motorcycles and ambulances so that they can make sure health care reaches everyone, everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Spencer on Marquez, Rossi, Open and the future

Millions witnessed the Marc Marquez-Valentino Rossi battle of the Qatar Grand Prix, as well as the introduction of Open bikes to the MotoGP™ field. Watching closely from home was two-time premier class World Champion Freddie Spencer, while planning a golden opportunity for some riding talents of the future…
Proudly in the Hall of Fame as a MotoGP™ Legend, ‘Fast Freddie’ became the youngest ever premier class World Champion when he won the crown for Honda in 1983 – a ‘youngest ever’ record which stood until the end of 2013, when Honda counterpart Marc Marquez took it away from him. However, the American is arguably best remembered for his historic double of 1985, when he wrapped up the 250 title as well as 500 honours in the same season. Nowadays, he is working on establishing a brand-new riding school in the south of France.

First of all, tell us about the new Freddie Spencer riding school at Paul Ricard…
Absolutely. It is going to be a riding school, but more than just that. It is more a motorcycling experience and a kind of evolution of the previous riding school I ran in Las Vegas. This will be a little more personal. It should suit me very well for where I am at this part of my life and the location is incredible: Paul Ricard. The facilities are superb and there are a lot of good people involved.

We ran a small programme two weeks ago as part of a track day, but we are now structuring it more into a real riding centre. It will provide everything for upcoming riders and will be split into small, dedicated classes. The experience you get will be very unique. Anybody can come and the classes will be with me personally. What I like about it is that I will be able to look at a rider and see exactly where they are struggling and be able to talk about that. It could grow into something very unique.

Your riding school pupils may want to emulate Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi, following their fantastic fight in the Qatar Grand Prix…
Yes! I was watching from Marseille in France, which is where I am based at the moment. It was a great battle. Valentino did say that qualifying was not going to be indicative of the race and he had gone well in Qatar last year too. I wasn’t surprised he was up there, but what was particularly exciting was how many others were also fighting for the lead: Stefan Bradl, Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith, for example.

Jorge (Lorenzo) dropped out on the first lap, otherwise I think he would have been really tough for everyone to beat. But of course he crashed and then the battle was between Marc and Valentino – and very exciting. But we’ll have to see what happens once we get to Austin. In some respects, Qatar is unique, but this year’s race definitely breathed some great excitement.

Could you say it was an ominous performance from Marc Marquez?
Well, I do think Qatar was very important from the standpoint of: I don’t think he was really riding at the full 100% of his efforts. He didn’t need to. He just did exactly what was necessary at the time and that was the mature thing to do. It doesn’t matter whether you win a race by 20 seconds or two thousandths of a second. He took no risks in practice or qualifying.

You could say that approach of his was quite different to last year: no incidents, not fastest until it mattered in qualifying and then winning the race. A very controlled approach. He only did what he needed to do, but both he and Valentino did a great job.

Rossi himself has pinpointed the first six races of 2014 as critical in deciding whether or not he will continue his riding career into next year…
I know that the win at Assen last year kept him motivated; it meant everything to him and renewed his confidence about winning races again. If he says his future depends on the first six races of this year, then I believe him. Having changed his crew chief, there is pressure to perform – and even more than usual.

Jorge Lorenzo has been aggravated by a lack of grip. Can you recall any tyre-related frustrations in your own career?
If you go back over the last few years, you will see that at one point (in 2012) the tyres were changed and it was Honda who struggled at that point. At the moment, Lorenzo and Yamaha are having more of a hard time.

I remember first testing radials and I just could not get it to work for me. It’s hard when something like this happens. For Jorge, it could be just the slight loss of feel when you are right on the very edge – and when you can’t feel every little detail it is hard to go beyond the edge. You need to be able to push, to be able to ride not just on the limit but beyond it, if you have to.

Jorge is such a ‘feel’ and controlled rider. His style is about precision. I understand that because I was a bit like that and also a bit like Marc – I was a bit of both of their styles. But being able to find the limit and really push it is so important, so it is very difficult to accept the situation if you can’t do so. If the tyres change, you have to try and modify your suspension settings around it. It’s all about finding a compromise.

What do you make of Open bikes and Ducati being able to enjoy the benefits - such as the ability to develop engines in-season, plus the softer tyre and so on?
The Open bikes have brought the field closer together! It is more controlled, but it certainly makes for great racing and brings the field closer together – but we’ll see for how long. Factories can’t make any engine changes like the Opens can, but that is probably a good thing to make it more interesting.

It will be particularly interesting to see more changes, when they start taking away some of the advantages (Ducati will lose some Open benefits depending on its success). I understand why Ducati would do it because, at the end of the day, they want and need to be more competitive and this is a great opportunity to do it.

Austin, Texas is coming up next. Last year, Marquez won there and took away your mantle as the youngest ever premier class Grand Prix winner. Should we expect more of the same on our second visit to Circuit of the Americas?
Marc looked very comfortable there last year and the Honda works well on that track; it’s about high speed and good acceleration. I would have to think the pressure is on Jorge and Yamaha, but it is a long season and this will only be the second race; but you would think Jorge will be feeling a little extra pressure, already carrying a gap of 25 points to Marquez following the crash in Qatar.

What is going to be especially interesting for me is some of the other guys. We will have to see if Aleix Espargaro can continue to impress and also keep an eye out for Smith, Bradl and Bautista. It’s unpredictable! The new rules have taken a lot of flak, but you know what? It’s a race and these rules certainly made the first one interesting. That is a good thing…it keeps everybody guessing!
 

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Looking forward to this race. I love the layout of COTA.
 

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I'm really disappointed that Bridgestone is cracking under the pressure from Yamaha. They are bringing the 2013 spec tire all of a sudden because of "production delays".
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Iannone: ‘I want to fight with Marquez again’
Andrea Iannone was running in as high as fourth place when he fell in the early stages of the Qatar Grand Prix. Now in his second MotoGP™ season, the Italian is aiming high – and hopes to fight again with an old rival who goes by the name of Marquez…
Before stepping up to the premier class of Grand Prix racing in 2013, Vasto-born Iannone finished third overall over three consecutive years of the Moto2™ category. 12 times a race winner in the lower categories, the sheer confidence that characterised the now 24-year-old over previous years remains prominent in his psyche.

After returning home from Doha, he shared a few minutes with ***********.

Andrea, you came out of the blocks far stronger in Qatar this year than last; what are the main differences with the bike you are riding in 2014?

You can push harder with it. It’s not so easy to reach the limit. But once you do find that limit, I have found it is possible to move it even further ahead and to keep establishing a new limit. You can ride this bike with more ease, but at the same time maintain greater speed and more consistency, so it is a great leap forward for us.

Had you not crashed out of fourth place on the second lap in Qatar, where do you think you could have finished that race?

[Laughs] That was a real shame! I was genuinely sorry for that fall. On the other hand, it was a great weekend; I was always fast and always up there among the first few. Regarding that incident on the second lap, I was running with the top five and keeping up with their pace – and I’m sure I would have finished in that group.

You suffered a few injuries last year – are you now feeling 100% on the bike?

Physically, I’m okay; I am going well on the bike and I’m in a good place mentally. I am certainly pleased with the step we have made and now hope to continue improving further over the course of this season. I want to be fighting again with Marc Marquez. In Moto2™ we experienced some really great battles and I do miss them.

Now we go to Austin. What will happen there? With two long straights, surely you can be optimistic about the straight-line speed of the Ducati?

It’s a very nice track, but actually not that easy. But it is true that we should be able to take advantage of those couple of long straights. However, having a fast bike is not enough on its own; you have to be able to ride well and string it all together for the whole lap – in the corners, not just the straights.

In Qatar and Malaysia (for testing/racing so far this year) we haven’t got badly at all, but we do have to understand that we will suffer on some circuits. I don’t know exactly what to expect from Austin, to be honest, but we look forward to it. The team and I just wants to get as close to the front as possible, that is for sure.

On another note, you are always very active on social networks and seem to enjoy interacting with the fans…

Yes, indeed. At one point everybody was using Messenger. Nowadays we are all going crazy with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. When people ask me questions, I like to get back to them directly and interact. It’s nice to communicate with the people who follow you.

In fact, during the pre-season you included the logos of all of these social networks on your crash helmet

That’s right. Over the winter I had a bit of a change and asked Aldo Drudi to design the helmet for me. We were running a bit late and the first thing that came to mind was to focus on the social media; once the helmet had those logos on it, it actually looked really nice.

You have almost always raced under number 29; what is the story behind that?

Actually, when I started out in racing my number was 53 because I loved the film Herbie – ‘the love bug’! Then I started racing minibikes with number 9, which is the number of my birthday (9th August 1989). In the meantime, my brother Angelo competed with number 2; he raced alongside the likes of Corsi, Simoncelli and Dovizioso. When he stopped racing, I decided to combine his number with mine. As he is the eldest of the two of us, I put his number in front of mine and that is how I ended up with number 29!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Rossi hints at contract renewal with Yamaha
Nine time World Champion Valentino Rossi has hinted that he wants to continue racing with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™ next year in an exclusive television interview with Sky television in Italy.
The Italian MotoGP™ star returned to Yamaha at the beginning of 2013 of course and last year he achieved six podiums including a win at Assen, followed up by a great race ten days ago in Qatar to finish second at round one – after a thrilling battle with current World Champion Marc Marquez.

Rossi has stated for several months that his level of competitiveness in the early rounds of the 2014 season would be key to his decision to remain in MotoGP™.

Having run Marquez so close at Losail he told Sky of his 2015 plans, "I think I will renew with Yamaha. I never had the idea of quitting, I feel in good form and above all racing gives me immense pleasure. It’s the most enjoyable thing in my life, I love this world and I love the lifestyle which comes with being a MotoGP™ rider, training hard and traveling the world. As long as I am competitive I hope to continue."

He then went on to add, "Now it’s key to see how competitive we can be in Texas and in Argentina and see if we really are at a better level than in 2013. Last year the Qatar race went well but this year the second place was an even better performance in the race. I’ve ridden at a good level throughout my career but now it is more difficult. We have to be very competitive and we know that winning the World title again is really hard, but if we're near the front every Sunday that is fine."

Asked what was the favourite bike he had ridden in his career, Rossi responded, "I have ridden so many beautiful bikes, Aprilia, Honda and Ducati. But my favorite bike is definitely the Yamaha M1!"

When quizzed on who he thinks will win the 2014 MotoGP™ title, Rossi stated with a smile, "I think Marquez will be the World Champion again, and I’ll try to give him a little luck."
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Espargaro: I could have stayed with Marquez, Rossi
MotoGP's new star Aleix Espargaro is certain he could have challenged for a podium during the Qatar Grand Prix had he not hampered himself with two qualifying crashes.
Aleix Espargaro is confident he would have been able to maintain a front-running pace during the 2014 MotoGP World Championship opener in Qatar had he not hampered his chances with a qualifying spill.

Though his headline-grabbing pace on the Open-specification Forward Yamaha during pre-season testing had led most to believe Espargaro was destined for a strong showing during the Qatar Grand Prix opener, his sheer dominance of free practice raised expectations of a pole position challenge at least.

However, two crashes during qualifying scuppered those hopes, the Spaniard accepting that nerves had a part to play in him failing to live up to expectations when it mattered.

“I am pleased with how things began, topping those first three practice sessions and maintaining a good rhythm all weekend-long,” he told the official *********** website. “Perhaps thanks to the nerves (and it being my first big opportunity to clinch pole position), I made two big errors in qualifying.

“That meant I started much further back on Sunday and, on top of that, I had destroyed both of my bikes; I therefore had to race with a rebuilt bike and it didn't feel very comfortable.

Indeed, though Espargaro was able to turn his fortunes back around for race day with a charging run to a career-best fourth position, he remains certain that he could have matched the pace of Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi at the front of the field had he not started down the order.

“I managed to calm myself down for the race to finish fourth and pick up 13 points. It is clear that the rest could have been so much better had it not been for those two critical mistakes in qualifying.

“I do think I would have been battling with them if I had started further up the grids. Over the race my pace was similar to Marc (Marquez) and Valentino (Rossi), but I was stuck amongst the Ducatis and losing ten to 15 kilometres per hour to them down the straight.

“If I had started with the front-runners, I would have been able to make up for that loss of straight-line speed by getting in the slipstream. Anyway…I did make those errors on Saturday and I paid the price, which was a shame. We'll just have to try and go for it again in Texas.”
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Echoes from Qatar Part 1: What of Bridgestone’s new rear tire?
The real story behind what happened between Jorge Lorenzo and Bridgestone during the Yamaha rider’s struggles at Qatar
From SR
While Marc Márquez, Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaró were the undisputed stars of the Qatar GP, the flip side of the coin was without question Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo. The two-time MotoGP world champion was obviously extremely agitated nearly the whole weekend, culminating in his crashing out of the first lap of the race as a consequence of “a junior mistake,” in his own words.
The reason for Lorenzo’s agitation was the new rear tire introduced by Bridgestone for 2014, which in Lorenzo’s words handicapped the performance of the 2014 M1. The new-spec rear tire’s incompatibility with the Yamaha made itself readily known in the preseason tests held at Sepang, and showed up again during the practice sessions in Qatar. Grip problems in the middle and during the acceleration phase getting out of turns were his main complaints. And he displayed those complaints very strongly, berating Bridgestone engineers in front of the cameras and losing his cool in moments even with his chief mechanic, Ramon Forcada. Other issues, like seeing Aleix Espargaró’s Open Class M1 on top of the time sheets didn’t help either, but we’ll talk about this in the next “Echoes from Qatar” piece (as well as the fact that when he lined up for the grid at Qatar, Lorenzo said he was thinking of a podium or even winning...).
During the 2013 season, all the MotoGP riders complained repeatedly about the uselessness of Bridgestone’s hard option compound tire. Its lack of edge grip forced the rider’s choice down to basically one option. So for 2014 Bridgestone’s priority was to solve this situation by designing a new rear hard with three different rubber compounds placed on four different areas.
Until last year, the maximum number of different compounds on a same tire was three. This was usually employed for special asymmetrical tires made for circuits that require a harder compound on one side because of a higher ratio of turns to that side, such as Phillip Island. So there would be a central compound in the middle, a softer compound on the side with less stress, and a harder compound on the other side.
For this year, Bridgestone engineers went a step forward. Trying to make harder tire useable, they decided to change the rubber structure by adding a soft compound band at the very edge of the hard compound side. The intention was to get better grip on maximum lean angles, even on the less grippy side of the tire.
But the changes went beyond just external rubber compounds. The 2014 tire also has a new internal component: the “heat layer.”
The heat layer was developed after Bridgestone engineers found in laboratory analysis of some 2013 race tires that the outer rubber had started to drastically overheat, with Phillip Island (where the race was controversially changed to a mandated pit stop to exchange bikes midrace because of tire overheating issues) being the prime example. This layer is located in the tire carcass, and is said to prevent the transfer of the heat generated inside the tire to the tread surface and vice versa. The layer is added only to the side of the tire that sees higher stress.
But apparently what happened during the preseason tests was that this heat transfer layer was so effective that it prevented the tire edge from achieving its optimum working temperature. And is the link to Lorenzo’s problems. His riding style that uses extreme lean angles and arcing lines that emphasize more time spent at those lean angles meant that Lorenzo was the most susceptible to these issues.
How Bridgestone engineers plan to solve the problem of the heat layer is obviously an industrial secret. Whether the layer will be reduced in thickness or width is an easy guess, and an inordinate amount of testing at the factory will be required in the days leading up to Austin. Will the fix be effective? The answer will be in a little more than week...
 

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They shouldn't be planning to fix anything for just one rider. Aleix looked just fine on the M1, and I didn't hear Rossi complaining post-race about tires.
 
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